Egoism in work environment


In any organization psychologically there are different types of personnel working in it. The nature of most of them is supportive in contributing to the organization in reaching the goal and their interaction with their peers, juniors and seniors is cooperative and positive. However all the employees are not of he same type and a few of them suffer from different complexes. One of such complexes we are discussing in this article is ‘Ego’. This is a big constraint for others within the organization and also outside the organization in interacting with the concerned person having a high or super ego. The result is work of the company suffers the intended activity slows down leading to even considerable losses. Punishing or taking disciplinary action are later steps but even good personnel interacting with the egoistic person suffer as they cannot achieve the target in time because they may take more time in convincing the super ego personality.

What makes person to have such high ego having negative effect on the working environment? Some of the reasons psychologists mention for such nature of super egoism are,

Ø Lack of affection from family members during childhood (due to early death of mother and brought up by step mother)
Ø Feeling of insecurity like fear of loosing the job if he cooperates easily
Ø Overestimation of intelligence or always carrying an impression others are fools
Ø Not caring for peers, juniors and even sometimes immediate superior making every issue a prestige issue
Ø Carrying an impression that his immediate superior do not know much about the work than himself
Ø In the event of dealing with a person in another organization and that person happens to be junior in level to the egoistic person then creating unnecessary problems and deliberately approaching the superior in the other organization. This may be for showing off how much intelligent and task master he is.

The work must go on and one must learn to deal with all sorts of people. Our experience is that with a little tact in communication or strategy we can get he work done or solicit maximum cooperation from the egoistic persons.

In this article we are giving below an actual case where a person say Mr. MT in another organization at the highest level with super ego qualities cooperated utmost with a middle level executive say SR. The executive had the tact and proper approach in communicating with the egoistic high level person and got his work done through MT.

Mr.SR has joined a professionally managed large engineering company in mid 70s in their drilling equipments division called DEL. SR was a qualified mechanical engineer and has made his first change of his career for better prospects by joining DEL after working for about 3 years in a reputed light engineering company. During 70s large companies started outsourcing components from smaller companies. The large companies by doing this were benefited from low cost inputs and were placed in a better competitive position than their competitors. DEL was manufacturing mining exploration (mineral sampling) and deep boring water well drills with U.S. collaboration.

After 2 days orientation SR was given the responsibility to procure outsourced components, follow up with vendors for timely delivery and also give technical guidance to the vendors to ensure that there are no or minimum possible rejections. Components were procured from workshops of all capacities ranging from 10 workmen; 500 sq ft to mid size 200 workmen, 10,000 sq ft. There were restrictions on import of capital goods from advanced countries as such very critical components with precision could be manufactured only by very few mid size workshops.

DEL has sub-contracted a very important, high value, critical component called Drive shaft to a mid size workshop called TMI where MT was the director in charge of manufacturing. He was an engineer and capable of operating all the critical machines like a skilled operator. Considering the type of the product DEL had adopted Batch type production. The assembly of the requisite drills as per the production planning was completed during the month and sent to customer before the end of the month. Inventory control was very much in its place as a cost control measure. High value items like drive shaft was controlled strictly and only what is required per month was delivered during first week of the month. TMI was delivering on time without any rejections. The drive shaft had 3 long keyways to be milled with a high tolerance level and TMI had only one skilled operator who could do with that kind of precision.

SR had visited TMI and met MT in the last week of a month to finalize schedule of deliveries for subsequent month. MT as usual over a cup of tea, after talking so many things boasting about his adventures in younger days has agreed for the schedule without any fuss. SR had the tact to listen to him patiently with nods and smiles sipping the tea knowing very well that this satisfies MT very much. MT used to derive the satisfaction that a large company executive is sitting with him and appreciating is talk. He used to eel that he is getting utmost respect from SR.

SR had visited TMI after 3 days to check the progress on the drive shaft. There ware no signs of any machining going on. Meanwhile MT has sent a word to meet him in the reception area instead o his office. SR met him and MT was apologetic saying he will not be able to deliver shafts that month as his skilled operator is sick and cannot come to work for another 30 days. For SR it was a bolt from the blue because he has already given his commitment to his superior who in turn reported ‘no problems’ to management. Moreover SR was on probation with DEL as 6 months period was not yet completed. Non delivery of the drills will offend a major customer of DEL which in turn can cast a spell on SR of losing the job.

SR has kept his cool at least outside appearance and discussed the possibility of various alternatives. MT has expressed his absolute helplessness. Remembering the egoistic nature of MT, SR has used all his skills in the final act of tact. SR simply praised the trouser cloth of MT, his selection and acting ignorance said whether it is imported. This was enough to tickle and satisfy the ego of MT who narrated a half an hour adventure how he procured the cloth that too almost for 6 trousers (same color) just to teach a lesson to the shop owner. SR in his usual style praised MT for his act and selection of trouser cloth and casually (without showing emotions) mentioned about the drive shaft. SR also said that MT is the only person to help him out as he (SR) committed delivery to his company. To utter surprise of SR, MT committed that he will ensure delivery of all the shafts as per the schedule. SR without asking any further questions departed from TMI. In order to assess the progress SR visited TMI after 4/5 days and could not find MT in the machine shop. A voice greeted SR from near by; it was MT operating the machine in half pants. He pointed out o SR that 3 shafts are ready and full quantity can be delivered to DEL vehicle within 3 days. SR profusely thanked him and left he scene.

In conclusion it is not impossible to tackle egoistic people to get the work done. Instead of making it a serious prestige issue if one can pull the right chords (as SR has done in the above case), an egoistic person (like MT) can cooperate more than required. Ultimately getting the wok done and achieving results in an organization is the primary responsibility of each and every employee.

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